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Attack position

Definition Attack position is a term used in military operations to describe a specific location from which a unit intends to initiate an offensive action against the enemy. This position allows the unit to establish a secure, well-organized formation and finalize their combat preparations before engaging in the attack. It is typically chosen by a […]


Attack position is a term used in military operations to describe a specific location from which a unit intends to initiate an offensive action against the enemy. This position allows the unit to establish a secure, well-organized formation and finalize their combat preparations before engaging in the attack. It is typically chosen by a commander based on the terrain, proximity to the enemy, and opportunities for cover and concealment.

Key Takeaways

  1. An attack position is a tactical location where military forces gather and prepare before launching an offensive operation against an enemy.
  2. The attack position is typically chosen based on factors such as terrain, cover, concealment, and proximity to the enemy’s defenses, allowing forces to maximize their chances of success during the assault.
  3. Once in the attack position, troops can finalize their plans, coordinate movements, and make any necessary last-minute adjustments before initiating their assault on the enemy’s positions.


The military operations term “attack position” holds significant importance as it serves as the final assembly area for ground forces prior to initiating an offensive action against enemy targets.

It is a carefully chosen, strategic location that enables troops to deploy, organize, and maintain readiness with minimal exposure to enemy fire.

Successful execution of an attack relies heavily on proper planning, positioning, and communication among all units involved.

The attack position is a critical element in ensuring that the attacking force achieves the element of surprise, conserves tactical resources, and provides a cohesive and coordinated assault which ultimately increases the chances of victory on the battlefield.


In the context of military operations, the attack position serves as a critical staging area for ground forces as they prepare to launch offensive operations against an enemy. Its primary purpose is to provide a designated, well-organized location where units can efficiently converge, coordinate, and finalize their plans before commencing their assault.

The attack position is carefully selected to ensure the safety and security of the forces, as well as to facilitate optimal use of terrain, effective communication, and efficient force deployment. Additionally, it may provide an opportunity for troops to make last-minute checks on their equipment, weaponry, and intelligence data whilst maintaining concealment from enemy forces.

The attack position is vital in achieving tactical surprise, maximizing operational tempo, and enhancing a unit’s overall combat effectiveness during offensive operations. By allowing the troops to move in an organized manner from a secure and concealed location, the attack position significantly reduces the risk of premature engagement with enemy forces, ensuring the attack is well-coordinated and concentrated when it occurs.

Moreover, the attack position can also serve as a critical link between the broader military strategy and the tactical deployment of forces; higher echelon commanders can use it to synchronize the movement and actions of multiple units within their operational area, harmonizing their efforts to achieve a unified force effect on the battlefield. In this way, the attack position serves as a crucial element in successfully conducting military operations, contributing to the overall cohesion, readiness, and effectiveness of the attacking force.

Examples of Attack position

Battle of Stalingrad (1942-1943): In World War II, the German army had reached an attack position on the outskirts of Stalingrad, preparing to assault the strategically important city. From here, they launched their operation, which led to one of the largest and bloodiest battles in history. The German forces were eventually defeated by the Soviet Red Army.

Operation Desert Storm (1991): During the Gulf War, coalition forces led by the United States established attack positions prior to the ground offensive against Iraqi forces occupying Kuwait. After extensive airstrikes to weaken Iraq’s defense, the ground assault commenced from these attack positions, leading to a swift and decisive victory for the coalition forces, liberating Kuwait.

Battle of Inchon (1950): In the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the United Nations forces, planned a daring amphibious assault at Inchon to recapture Seoul and cut off North Korean supply lines. Before the assault, the U.S. Marines reached an attack position just off the coast of Inchon. They launched their attack on September 15, 1950, which ultimately proved successful, turning the tide of the war in favor of the United Nations and South Korean forces.

FAQ – Attack Position

What is an attack position in military operations?

An attack position is a location selected by military forces, usually near the enemy’s defensive position, where troops gather and prepare to launch a deliberate attack. This location allows forces to coordinate, finalize plans, and make last-minute adjustments before proceeding with the operation.

What factors determine the selection of an attack position?

The selection of an attack position depends on multiple factors, such as terrain, distance from enemy positions, accessibility, concealment, and the ability to maneuver and execute the attack plan. The chosen location should ideally provide cover, concealment, and suitable observation points, and should not be easily detectable by the enemy.

How do military forces move into an attack position?

Military forces move into attack positions by conducting stealthy and coordinated movements, often utilizing cover and concealment provided by terrain or darkness. Forces may advance using multiple routes and may conduct reconnaissance missions to gather intelligence on enemy positions, obstacles, and potential engagement areas before moving into the attack position.

What are the common steps followed after occupying an attack position?

Once an attack position is occupied, military forces usually follow a series of steps to ensure the success of their operation. These steps may include finalizing and synchronizing plans, conducting rehearsals, refining intelligence, establishing communication links, and deploying assets for close air support or artillery support. Additionally, forces prepare for contingencies and account for any required adjustments based on the evolving situation.

How do forces move from the attack position to the objective?

Once the operation begins, forces move from the attack position toward their objective using a combination of movement techniques, speed, and stealth. Depending on the mission, appropriate movement formations are chosen to maximize combat power and maintain tactical flexibility. As forces approach the objective, engagement with the enemy is initiated, and various assets like air support and artillery may be employed to support the attacking units.

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Sources for More Information

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica – A highly respected source for accurate and concise information, including details about military operations and terms.
  • U.S. Army Combined Arms Center – Official information source from the U.S. Army, which should provide valuable insights into attack position and other military terms.
  • GlobalSecurity.org – A comprehensive website specializing in global security and military operations, which contains information on various military terms, including attack position.
  • The Jamestown Foundation – A think tank that specializes in research and analysis of military and global security issues, providing details on various military operations, tactics, and terms.

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